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35 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Criminology for 2020

In this article ranking the 35 most affordable Bachelor’s degrees in Criminology, we will explore a few degrees like:

  • BA in Criminology
  • BS in Criminology
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Most of us love good crime show like CSI or NCIS, but some people’s interest in crime goes way deeper than just TV. If that’s you, listen up! You might enjoy studying the field of criminology. Criminology, a degree mostly based in sociology, will examine the causes and effects that crime has on individuals and society. You’ll get an in-depth look at crime prevention, law enforcement, criminal justice systems, and crime victims. We’ve gathered 35 of the most affordable Bachelor’s degrees in Criminology; take a look and decide if a low-cost degree in criminology is in your future!

Rating and Ranking Methodology

To develop this ranking of the top affordable Bachelor’s in Criminology programs, our editors searched for schools that offered cheap undergraduate programs in Criminology.  To rate and rank these programs, we applied the methodology below, using information from Google, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), Payscale.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and each program’s website. In cases of a tie, the more affordable school pulled the higher rank. If the information didn’t fit within the parameters, zero points were awarded for that category.

Tuition

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $25,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, writing/technology support, etc.) – 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

Campus Diversity Support Network – 1 point per item

“Wow” Factor – 1 point (anything that would mark a program as unique. Special qualities that make a program “stand out from the crowd”)

#35 Claflin University

Orangeburg, South Carolina

B.A. in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,080
Standardized Test Score Requirements: SAT: 880 (evidence-based reading writing and math score) / ACT: 17 (composite score)
Points: 10

Claflin University offers an extremely flexible cheap Bachelor’s in Criminology. Traditional students can take classes during the day, but night classes (and even online classes) are available for those who have varying schedules. Likewise–students can pursue this program at the Orangeburg, South Carolina location or Columbia at Fort Jackson. The program is designed to provide students a comprehensive liberal arts education that will address the key components of a criminology degree: law enforcement, corrections, court procedures, criminal investigation, administration and management, and criminal justice research. Graduates will be prepared to continue into graduate study or begin a dynamic career in a variety of criminal justice careers. Claflin University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $19,208

#34 Southern University at New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,928
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required, but no minimum is discussed
Points: 10
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One affordable Bachelor’s degree in criminology you should check out is the program at Southern University at New Orleans. It’s one of the cheapest criminology degrees on this list! In your major courses, you will take classes like:

  • criminal justice and juvenile justice processes
  • criminology
  • law enforcement
  • law adjudication
  • corrections

The program will also address legal and social processes and how they relate to the criminal justice system. In addition, you’ll gain valuable and marketable skills–like critical thinking skills, data analysis skills, technological skills, and communication skills. Lastly–the program will address how to face the issues in the criminology field with proper ethical behavior. SUNO is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $5,976

#33 Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,636
Standardized Test Score Requirements:  17 ACT score or 800/880 SAT score (depending on the year taken)
Points: 10

We’ve included Elizabeth City State University’s cheap criminology program on this list–and with good reason. You can earn your degree from ECSU without even breaking the $3,500 mark. Through the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Liberal and Fine Arts, ECSU offers a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice that offers an interdisciplinary program for students. Graduates will be prepared for continued study, if desired. In the program, you’ll gain valuable skills like the ability to critically investigate crime, communication and technical skills, and competent decision-making skills within the criminal justice field. ECSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $3,412

#32 University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,733
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required, but requirements vary
Points: 11

At the University of South Carolina, you’ll earn an affordable Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The professional program will give you a solid basis in liberal arts and the social sciences. Through the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, students will take major coursework like:

  • The American Criminal Justice System
  • Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Sociology of Crime
  • Policing
  • Corrections Criminal Courts

And for students that are looking to continue their education, USC is a great option because they offer a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Criminal Justice. A dual graduate-level degree resulting in a Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctor is also available. USC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $20,181

#31 Grand Valley State University

Allendale, Michigan

BA or BS in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,680
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores are required, but no minimum is discussed
Points: 11
grand-valley-state-university

The low-cost Bachelor’s degree in Criminology offering at Grand Valley State University will combine a liberal arts education with practical training. Students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, with coursework spanning subject matter like:

  • Constitutional rights
  • Corrections process
  • Courts process
  • Criminology
  • Issues in criminal justice
  • Juvenile justice

Students also have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on internship. You won’t have to worry about not being seen and heard; GVSU offers a small student-teacher ratio, and a decorated faculty with different interests to guide you through the whole process. Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Net-Price: $17,184

#30 Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville, North Carolina

B.S. in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,473
Standardized Test Score Requirements: An 880 or higher on the SAT or a 17 or higher on the ACT.

Points: 11
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A program certified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), Fayetteville State University offers a low-cost BS in Criminal Justice. In fact, the program is one of the cheapest on this ranking list. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get a quality program! Sample classes include:

  • Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Criminological Theory
  • Criminal Justice Ethics

Graduates will be ready for a dynamic career in the criminal justice field, including options like police officer, probation officer, juvenile detention officer, correctional officer, FBI agent, crime analyst, DEA agent, and legal researcher. Fayetteville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $5,685

#29 Indiana University-Northwest

Gary, Indiana

B.S. in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,534
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required
Points: 11
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Indiana University Northwest offers a 120-credit low-cost program in criminology. The program will break down like this: general education, public affairs and policy, criminal justice, and general electives. Note that you must maintain a 2.0 GPA and a 2.3 GPA in your major area to remain in good standing for graduation. Coursework includes:

  • American Criminal Justice System
  • Special Issues in the American Criminal Justice System
  • Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Justice Policies
  • Criminal Justice Data, Methods, and Research
  • Substantive Criminal Law
  • The Criminal Courts
  • American Policing
  • Corrections

Graduates will be able to pursue a variety of criminal justice related careers.  IU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $5,621

#28 University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 27 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 29,611
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 12
university-of-georgia

The low-cost Criminology undergraduate degree offering at the University of Georgia will result in a BA in Criminal Justice. Jointly offered through the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and International Affairs, the cheap criminology program is truly an interdisciplinary one that combines studies in criminal justice areas including human behavior, deviance, law, legal institutions, and crime. After completing the required major coursework, students will participate in a semester-long internship at a criminal justice agency. In addition, students will design and complete a research project that will blend knowledge from classroom theory and real-world experiences. UGA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $15,539

#27 Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

B.A./B.S. in Criminal Justice and Victim Studies

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,498
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required
Points: 12

Through the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Sam Houston State University offers two affordable degrees in criminology. You can choose between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Victim Studies. The BS track will require coursework in the social sciences, like psychology, sociology, political science whereas the BA track will require foreign language courses. No matter what program you choose, you will take many foundational classes in the criminal justice field, including:

  • Cyber Crime
  • Global Terrorism
  • Forensic Science
  • Victimology
  • Violent Offenders
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • White Collar Crime
  • Criminal Investigation

Students will also be required to take an internship. The degree is offered online as well. SHSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $12,516

#26 Dalton State College

Dalton, Georgia

BS in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 23 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,118
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 12

The affordable criminology degree program at Dalton State College will result in a BS in Criminal Justice and will focus on providing analytical, communication, and research skills. The program will be 121-122 credits in length. Sample courses include Intro to Criminal Justice, Intro to Law Enforcement, The Judicial Process, Criminology, Juvenile Delinquency & Justice, and Crime and the Media. The major is also available a minor if interested in that instead. Graduates of the program can begin work in areas of  juvenile justice and probation, corrections, or municipal, state, and federal law enforcement. Dalton State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $6,484

#25 Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

BS in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 23,693
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 13
virginia-commonwealth-university

Virginia Commonwealth University’s low-cost Criminology degree program is a BS in Criminal Justice. Two areas of concentration are available in:

  • forensic crime scene investigation
  • justice

You’ll get to put theory into action by engaging in off-site experiences that help you gain real-world applications of what you’re studying. Graduates of the program will be prepared for graduate level studies in law or criminal justice or can begin entry-level positions in fields like corrections, the court system, law enforcement, forensic crime scene investigation and other public service professions. A related degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is also available. VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $20,897

#24 The University of Texas at El Paso

El Paso, Texas

BA in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,464
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 13

The University of Texas at El Paso offers a 120-credit affordable Bachelor’s degree in criminology that will result in a BA in Criminal Justice. This interdisciplinary program will give students a solid background in the social sciences. Coursework includes classes like Family Violence, Cyber Crime, Immigration Law and Admin, Courts Systems and Practices, and Criminal Procedure. Because this degree is a Bachelor of Arts, there will be a foreign language component of your liberal arts curriculum. An 18-credit hour minor is required as well. UTEP is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $7,720

#23 University of California Irvine

Irvine, California

Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Law and Society

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 29,736
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required
Points: 14
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Through the School of Social Ecology, California State University at Irvine offers a cheap Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Law and Society that will focus on “the problem of crime and on understanding the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that interact with the law.” The degree would be a good foundation for those looking to attend law school or graduate school in fields like sociology, criminology, or criminal justice. A 3-year plan is available for students who are seeking an accelerated degree. Note that the 3-year program includes several summer classes. An online Master’s, as well as a PhD program, are both available for interested students. UC Irvine is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Net-Price: $15,014

#22 University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

BA in Criminology

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,240
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 14

For students looking for delivery options, check out the University of South Florida’s affordable criminology degree program. You’ll have the ability to take the classes all in-person, fully online, or a combination of both. So–whatever works for you and your schedule, you can make it happen! The program will focus on all of the facets of the criminal justice system. The Department of Criminology also offers an Honor’s program and student Criminology Club. All students have access to an academic advisor! USF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Net-Price: $10,460

#21 George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

B.A./B.S. in Criminology, Law and Society

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,192
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary (there is a test- optional option for some students)
Points: 15

George Mason University’s low-cost criminology degree gives you plenty of options to choose from. If you’re looking for a program rooted in criminology–and that will provide you with mostly criminology coursework, check out their Bachelor of Science option. But–if you are looking for a program that will give you a look at multiple subjects related to criminology, you might want to look at the Bachelor of Arts program which will branch out into other areas of study. All students will have the opportunity to research, study abroad, and participate in an internship. A minor in Intelligence Analysis is available for interested students. George Mason University is accredited but the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Net-Price: $19,064

#20 Salem State University

Salem, Massachusetts

BS in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,811
Standardized Test Score Requirements: tests optional
Points: 16

At Salem State University, you can earn an affordable Bachelor’s degree in criminology through the school’s BS in Criminal Justice. Two concentrations are available in Administration or Criminal Investigation. Students will gain real-world experience in the field through supervised internships and service-learning opportunities. Get involved through the school’s Criminal Justice Academy, a school club dedicated to issues of criminal justice. A combined BS/MS program in Criminal Justice is also available for those interested in graduate school. Salem State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Net-Price: $17,782

 

#19 University of North Carolina Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina

BA in Criminology

Website

Student-Faculty Ratio:  17 to 1

Undergraduate Enrollment: 14,452

Standardized Test Score Requirements: test scores required

Points: 16

The affordable criminology degree program at The University of North Carolina Wilmington will result in a BA in Criminology. The program will explore the field of criminology, social science theory, and research methods. Courses in the major include Criminal Justice, Introduction to Sociology, Criminology, Methods of Social Research, Data Analysis and a Senior Seminar. Juniors and Seniors can enroll in an internship with local businesses rooted in the criminal justice field, like the local police department or the State Bureau of Investigation. Graduates who don’t move on to graduate school or law school can pursue careers in corrections, probation and parole, police services. UNC-Wilmington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $17,771

#18 University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:30,762
Standardized Test Score Requirements:The SAT or the ACT is required.
Points: 16

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When it comes to the best programs, the University of Maryland’s cheap Bachelor’s in Criminology is up there among the best. It’s affordable and it’s also considered the #1 Criminology program in the nation. Required courses include:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Statistics for Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Law in Action
  • Criminological and Criminal Justice Research Methods
  • Policing
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Crime and Delinquency Prevention
  • Treatment of Criminals and Delinquents
  •  Contemporary Criminological Theory

It is important to note that you must maintain a grade of “C” or higher in your major courses.  The University of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $16,790

#17 University of Nebraska at Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:12,430
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required
Points: 16

With maximum flexibility, students can enroll in the low-cost criminology degree program at the University of Nebraska Omaha. The program is available on two campuses (Omaha and Lincoln) as well as online. Internship opportunities are available at several reputable businesses. In addition, UN-Omaha is home to the London Study Abroad program, which allows students to examine the UK’s criminal justice system. Graduate-level degrees are available for those interested. In fact, the US News and World Report has ranked the school’s graduate criminology programs among the best. UN-Omaha is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $12,105

#16 University of Tennessee Martin

Martin, Tennessee

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:6,674
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 16

We’re sure you’ve heard of the University of Tennessee, but its smaller campus in Martin, Tennessee is worth a look, too. Here you can earn an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Criminology with 5 options for concentration:

  • Corrections
  • Courts and Law
  • Forensics
  • Generalist
  • Law Enforcement

The program is designed to explore “broad-based courses which stress the systemic, philosophical nature of criminal justice” that also provides a solid education in the Arts and Sciences. You can expect experienced faculty to teach your courses. In addition, graduates will be ready to pursue a graduate-level education or find a job in various criminal justice fields. The University of Tennessee at Martin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees.

Net-Price: $10,731

#15 California State University-San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California

BA in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 29 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:17,967
Standardized Test Score Requirements: Admission is based on a combination of your high school college preparatory courses, grade point average, and the score from either the SAT or ACT. No minimum score is discussed.
Points: 16

The low-cost criminology degree offering at California State University at San Bernardino will result in a BA in Criminal Justice. It is important to note that this major has “pre-major” requirements before admission to the program. Major coursework will include classes like Integrative Studies in Criminal Justice, Victimology, Police and Police Systems, Correctional Theory and Institutions, and Juvenile Justice System. An option to specialize in Crime Analysis is available, as well as a graduate-level degree in Criminal Justice for those interested. CSU San Bernardino is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Net-Price: $8,586

#14 University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

BS in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:15,641
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores are required, but no minimum is discussed
Points: 17

If you already know you want to earn a graduate degree in Criminal Justice too, check out the cheap criminology degree program at the University of Louisville. Here, you can earn your BS and MS in Criminal Justice at an accelerated pace. You’ll be able to earn up to 9 graduate credit hours during your senior year of undergrad. Core courses in the 121-credit undergraduate program include:

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Criminal Law and Justice
  • Corrections in the United States

Interesting elective options include Sex Crimes, Crimes against the Elderly, Gangs in America, Environmental Crime, and Prisons and Jails in the United States. An internship opportunity is available. The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $17,098

#13 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, New York

BA in Criminology

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1

Undergraduate Enrollment: 13,319

Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required

Points: 17

If you’re wanting a cheap criminology degree program from a college that knows what it’s doing, check out CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The entire school is dedicated to careers in the criminal justice field, so you know that you’re a part of a school specialized in your field. While there is a plethora of criminal justice related degrees, you can major in what you’re here for: Criminology After graduating, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. Required major coursework includes:

  • The Sociology of Violence
  • Youth, Crime, and Justice
  • Migration and Crime
  • Crime and Delinquency in Asia
  • Gangs and Transnationalism
  • Corporate and White-Collar Crime
  • Selected Topics in Criminology
  • Women and Crime

Students will have many experiential learning opportunities as well as an honors option. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $4,745

#12 Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:6,754
Standardized Test Score Requirements: test scores optional
Points: 18

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Western Illinois University lives out its mission of “Your potential, our purpose.” WIU’s low-cost Bachelor’s in criminology takes a different approach, but one that will prepare you to work in the criminal justice field. You’ll earn a BS in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, so this degree might be best suited for the student who wants to work in that sector of criminology. Plus, you won’t just learn in a classroom; this program is centered around real-world application that relies on discussion, doing, and demonstrating. Many related minors are available as well, including Legal Studies, Security Administration, Homeland Security, Fire Science, Emergency Management, Fire Administration, and Criminalistics. After you’ve completed your major requirements, you can partner with one of 1,400 agencies for an internship opportunity. WIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $15,808

#11 University of Missouri-St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

Bachelor of Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio:19 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:13,460
Standardized Test Score Requirements: SAT 1090/ACT 24

Points: 18

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The University of Missouri St. Louis offers a low-cost Bachelor’s degree in Criminology through the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice. The degree will result in a BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice and will feature a core curriculum that addresses criminal law, justice policy, theories of crime, and research methods. Students can then customize their degree by choosing from coursework like:

  • Violence Against Women
  • Victimology
  • White Collar Crime
  • The Death Penalty 
  • Urban Law: Poverty and the Justice System

Some classes are offered online. An elective in Internship in Criminology and Criminal Justice is available for students who desire that real-world experience. The University of Missouri St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $9,481

#10 Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Bachelor’s in Criminology

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:46,820
Standardized Test Score Requirements:scores required

Points: 19

ohio-state-university

Through the Department of Sociology, Ohio State University offers multiple ways to study criminology. Students can major in Sociology or Criminology or choose to double major in both! Minors are also available in Inequality and Society and Health & Society. Or you could choose to major in Sociology and minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice or vise-versa. So–your options at OSU are vast. Coursework in the Criminology major includes The Criminal Justice System, Neighborhoods and Crime, Control and Prevention of Crime and Delinquency, and Jails, Prisons, and Community Corrections. It is important to note that a grade of C- or higher is required for all major courses. OSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $18,694

#9 Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

BA in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:2,911
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required, but no minimum discussed
Points: 19

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Founded in 1842 as a military college in South Carolina’s historic city of Charleston, the Citadel offers an affordable degree in criminology that results in a BA in Criminal Justice. The school is known for training its Corps of Cadets under the classic military system that focuses on leadership and character building. The program will focus on a liberal arts education. Options to add-on related minors are available, including options like International Criminal Justice, African American Studies, International and Military Affairs, Law and Legal Studies, and Non-Western Studies. For 9 years in a row, the Citadel has been voted the #1 public school in the South for degrees up to a Master’s by the U.S. News and World Report. The Citadel is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $16,396

#8 Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:39,423
Standardized Test Score Requirements: requirements vary
Points: 19

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Michigan State University offers an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice whose mission is threefold: to understand the root causes and resulting patterns of crime, to shed light on the challenges criminal justice agencies face, and to analyze the growing importance of risk management in the field. Through the College of Social Sciences, students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, depending on the student’s interest and academic strengths. All students are required to get an interdisciplinary minor in addition to an experiential learning component, which could be fulfilled through opportunities like studying abroad or an internship. Graduates of the program will be ready for careers as:

  • Adult probation and parole agents
  • Behavioral health associates
  • Child protective services specialists
  • Global security intelligence analysts
  • Loss prevention associates

Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $16,227

#7 San Diego State University

San Diego, California

Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 27 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:30,586
Standardized Test Score Requirements: Scores are required, but no minimum score is discussed
Points: 19

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At San Diego State University, you can earn a cheap Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. The program is “designed to encourage thoughtful exploration of the ways that criminal justice systems provide ‘justice.'” After completing the general education requirements, students will have 3 major requirements: Criminal Justice core requirements, Public Administration requirements, and Elective requirements. Sample coursework includes Criminal Justice and Social Control, Investigation and Report, Community Resources in Criminal Justice, and Applied Planning, Research and Evaluation in Criminal Justice. An internship is also required. Graduates of the program will be prepared to continue their education in graduate or law school or can pursue entry-level jobs in fields like law, law enforcement, probation and parole, corrections, or other social service agencies. San Diego State University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Net-Price: $14,568

#6 University of Illinois at Chicago 

Chicago, Illinois 

BA in Criminology, Law, and Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1

Undergraduate Enrollment: 20,783

Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required

Points: 19

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For students looking for a well-rounded degree in several criminal justice fields, check out the University of Illinois Chicago’s affordable BA in Criminology, Law, and Justice. The program is 120 credits in length. Required courses include introductory criminology classes and several research methods classes. Next students can choose from a long list of electives, including options like: 

  • Community Corrections and Reentry
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Punishment, Prisons, and Corrections

An option minor in Law and Society is also available. The University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $12,248

#5 The University of Texas at Dallas

BA in Criminology

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 25 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:19,872
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required, but no minimum discussed
Points: 19

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Through the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, the University of Texas at Dallas offers a low-cost BA in Criminology, as well as several graduate degrees like an MS and PhD in Criminology. You can rest assured that the professors that will be teaching you will have industry knowledge with lots of teaching and research experience. Several other related degrees are also available. To make your experience more hands-on, you can participate in real-world internships and student organizations. The Journal of Criminal Justice Education ranked UT Dallas #1 for faculty research. UT at Dallas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Net-Price: $9,989

#4 Arizona State University-West

Glendale, Arizona

BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:4,047
Standardized Test Score Requirements:

  • ACT: 22 (24 nonresidents)
  • SAT: 1120 (1180 nonresidents)

Points: 19

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Arizona State University’s West campus offers an affordable BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice that will help students understand the causes of crime, the role criminal agencies play in the control of crime, and the consequences of crime. The program is 120 credits in length. Students can choose their preferred format or location–online or in person, and across several different campuses. Internship opportunities are available in over 200 specified agencies. The school offers many scholarship opportunities as well. ASU-West is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $9,742

#3 St. Joseph’s College-New York

Brooklyn, New York

B.A./B.S. in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio:9 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:943
Standardized Test Score Requirements: scores required, but requirements vary
Points: 20

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St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, New York offers a low-cost undergraduate degree in Criminology. Students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, depending on interests. The program is designed as a multi-disciplinary program that will touch on various studies like sociology, political science, psychology, philosophy, forensic bioscience, and criminal justice. If you’re looking for options, then you’ll love the school’s 5 options for specialization:

  • Law & Justice
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Mental Health
  • Community Corrections
  • Technology and the Criminal Justice System

An internship experience is available. Students can also join the Law and Justice Society Club in Brooklyn as well as participate in on-campus events that raise awareness for criminal justice policy issues. SJC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $16,973

#2 Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana, Pennsylvania

BA in Criminology

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio:  18 to 1

Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,373

Standardized Test Score Requirements: SAT 1050/ACT 22

Points: 21

At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, you can earn your affordable undergraduate degree in Criminology in two ways: a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology or a BA in Criminology Pre-Law track. Additionally, a minor in Information Assurance is available. Classes in the major include Policing and the Community, Juvenile Justice and Juvenile Law, White-Collar Crime, Violence and Victimology, Women and Crime, and Environmental Crime. Students can choose to put theory into action by participating in an internship. A Master’s level degree in Criminal Justice is also available on-campus or online, as well as a Doctoral program in Criminology. IUP is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $19,646

#1 University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

BS in Criminal Justice

Website
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
Undergraduate Enrollment:14,004
Standardized Test Score Requirements: test scores optional
Points: 24

If you’re looking for an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Criminology with options, UMass Lowell’s BS in Criminal Justice is worth a solid look. Impressively, you can choose between 5 areas of concentration:

  • Police
  • Corrections
  • Violence
  • Crime & Mental Health
  • Homeland Security

You will take major coursework in criminal justice areas of the juvenile justice system, criminology, law enforcement, corrections, crime prevention, research, and crime analysis. Students will also have access to research opportunities and can participate in a Victim Issues Project. For those interested, graduate and doctoral degrees in Criminal Justice are also available. UMass Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Net-Price: $18,257

What is an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Criminology?

Before we take a look at an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, let’s look at the study of Criminology itself.

What is Criminology?

Criminology is a broad and interdisciplinary field of study that promotes an understanding of crime and the criminal justice system and how they relate to human behavior, social environments, and government policy.

In short, a major in criminology will study the larger social context in which the justice system exists. 

Some topics in the field of Criminology that you might study could include:

  • the causes and consequences of criminal behavior
  • the structure and functions of the criminal justice system
  • how societies and individuals react to crimes 
  • the geographical elements related to crime and poverty
  • criminal justice policymaking

A Bachelor’s degree in this field is usually a 4-year degree, depending on your program and other personal commitments. 

What concentrations are available in this discipline?

Typically, getting a concentration means you’ll dedicate a couple of courses to a more specific area of the larger criminology studies field. A few that we mention in this ranking are:

Concentrations:

  • Police
  • Corrections
  • Violence
  • Crime & Mental Health
  • Homeland Security
  • Administration
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Law & Justice
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Mental Health
  • Community Corrections
  • Technology and the Criminal Justice System

Some programs don’t offer an area emphasis but instead encourage you to choose a related minor. While a concentration will dive deeper into a sub-field of criminology and will include coursework inside your same department, a minor will branch out just a bit. A minor gives you a complement to your degree outside of your field and will create a multi-disciplinary approach to your education. A few minors offered by schools on this rankings list include:

Minors:

  • Information Assurance
  • Inequality and Society
  • Health and Society

What coursework can I expect to take in my low-cost Criminology degree?

You can expect the basis of your degree to be rooted in Sociology, and possible some psychology courses, too. Beyond that, you will focus on areas of the criminology field like Victimology, Crime and Behavior, Crime and Society, and many more. Specific classes listed in this rankings list include:

  • Community Corrections and Reentry
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Punishment, Prisons, and Corrections
  • Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice Processes
  • Law Enforcement
  • Law Adjudication
  • The American Criminal Justice System
  • Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Sociology of Crime
  • Policing
  • Criminal Courts

How do I get admitted to my low-cost Bachelor’s in Criminology program?

Each school’s admissions process will be different. They will have varying requirements for first-time freshmen, transfer students, or international students. In addition, schools will place more emphasis on certain factors than others. For example, some schools will require SAT/ACT scores and some make them optional. Some place more emphasis on your high school GPA and others care about a more well-rounded applicant. But, typically, you can expect schools to take a look at variables like:

  • your high school GPA
  • your high school courses
  • standardized testing scores (SAT or ACT–schools will have options like a required minimum score, a weighted system, optional test scores, or no test scores)

On your application, you might also need:

  • an entrance essay
  • letters of recommendation

What graduate opportunities are available for people with degrees in Criminology?

With a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, you’ll be able to find a career you love, but some careers might require a subsequent degree. So, you might need to find a graduate program in Criminology or related field (sociology, psychology, law, etc). Many of the schools on this list also offer Master’s degrees in Criminology or Criminal Justice, and a few also offer accelerated 4 + 1 Bachelor’s and Masters combined degrees.

What are the Most Commonly Searched Affordable Bachelor’s Programs in Criminology?

According to the search engines, here are a few criminology/criminal justice programs that are searched frequently:

The University of Alabama: UA offers a B.A. in Criminal Justice with the option to minor in Cyber Criminology or Sociology.

East Tennessee State University: At ETSU, you can earn a B.A. or B.S. in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a focus in Criminal Justice and Criminology through the school’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Arkansas State University: Through the Department of Criminology, Sociology, and Geography, Arkansas University offers a B.A. in Criminology.

The American Women’s College: The American Women’s College offers a low-cost criminology degree program in two ways: a B.S. in Criminal Justice Studies or a B.S. in Offender Rehabilitation & Victim Advocacy.

Affordable Bachelor’s in Criminology Degree FAQs:

Q: What is the difference between Criminology and Criminal Justice?

A: The main difference between the two is that criminology studies the anatomy of a crime (causes, consequences, etc) and criminal justice will examine how society deals with crime (like court systems, criminal prosecution, etc.). But because the two fields are so similar, you will see a lot of overlap in studies. You could see a Criminal Justice degree that has coursework in Criminology, and vice versa. 

Q: Will I get a BA or BS degree in Criminology?

A: This will depend specifically on the program that you enroll in. Some programs focus on a liberal arts curriculum (a B.A), and some focus on a Science-based education (a B.S.). You’ll need to decide if you prefer to take more foreign language/liberal arts classes or more math and sciences! Neither is right or wrong–it just depends where your strengths and interests lie. 

Q: What skills do I need to study Criminology?

A: A few skills you will need to acquire in this field include:

  • keen observation skills
  • interest in behavioral patterns 
  • critical thinking skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • written and communication skills

Q: Do I need to take math courses to get a degree in Criminology?

A: Yes, you will. Math (especially Statistics) will be an asset to those pursuing a career in the Criminology field. 

Q: What kind of student resources will schools offer on-campus?

A: Academically, you’ll have all kinds of support from tutoring, to career services, to writing centers. Most schools also have multi-cultural support centers, as well as programs to support those with disabilities or who identify in the LGBTQ community. In addition, many schools have counseling or wellness centers, women centers, and centers for minorities. Some schools will even have program-specific student organizations to help you network and learn from peers in the same field.

Q: Can I take my low-cost Criminology program on a part-time basis?

A: The answer to this question is most likely a ‘yes.’ Most schools offer their programs on a part-time basis because they know that not all students can traditionally attend college. It is important to note that taking your program part-time will lengthen the time it takes to earn your degree. 

Q: How long will it take to earn my cheap degree in Criminology?

A: Typically, when you take your classes on a full-time basis, you can earn your degree in just 4 years. Other factors can affect that number, like if you take your classes part-time or if you enroll in an accelerated program. 

Q: Can I work while I get my affordable undergrad degree in Criminology?

A: The answer to this question will depend on what you can handle. College takes a lot of effort and time, so it might be wise to start your first semester and gauge your workload before you jump into a job. If you must work, consider a job on campus to cut down on commute time, or a quiet desk job that would allow you to read and study while you work.

Q: How do I know if getting my degree in Criminology is right for me?

A: This decision will ultimately be up to you, but we sure can help. Take a look at the coursework you’ll take in a Criminology program. Do the classes intrigue you? Will they keep your attention? For example, do the issues of behavioral patterns, victimology, or the justice system hold your interest?

Next, examine the careers that match the degree, as well as skills you’ll need to be successful. Do those skills come easily to you? Do any of the jobs get you excited?

Lastly, think long and hard about the field of Criminology. Can you handle talking about tough topics? Do you care about the ‘why’ behind crimes? If your answer is yes, then you might be on the right track. These are all signs that this profession is right for you!

Q: Will I need any subsequent degrees?

To get a job in the criminology field, you won’t necessarily need a graduate degree. There are plenty of great job opportunities for you with a Bachelor’s degree. However, some careers will require a graduate level degree. It’s also important to note that if you decide to teach at the university level, you will need subsequent degrees as well.

Q: Is it required to send my SAT/ACT scores to the university for admission?

Requirements for standardized testing varies by school. Some schools don’t require them at all, some allow them to be optional, and some have strict guidelines on scores. You’ll want to check the admission requirements of the specific schools you are considering to make sure your scores will cut it. 

Affordable Bachelor’s in Criminology Career FAQs:

Q: Is getting a degree in Criminology worth it?

A: Yes, absolutely. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t give information on criminology specifically, we can take a look at a similar career path, Sociology. Sociologists’ career path looks bright–and it’s projected to grow faster than the average. A 9% increase is expected in the next 10 years.

Q: What kind of careers can I pursue with a degree in Criminology?

A: With a degree in Criminology, you will be able to pursue a variety of careers! Some ideas include:

  • Criminologist
  • Criminal Sociologist
  • Forensic Psychologist (extra schooling required)
  • Private investigator
  • Insurance fraud investigator
  • Security specialist
  • Lawyer (extra schooling required)

Q: What does a criminologist do?

A: While you can pursue many different careers with a criminology degree, the most common or most obvious option would ab e a criminologist. Criminologists’ job is to help the police force or public officials understand crime better (the patterns, the causes, etc.) so that new policies can be initiated or predictive crime policing can be implemented.

Q: How do I become a criminologist?

A:  A criminologist will work in both the sociology and law enforcement fields. To become a criminologist, you need a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, and typically you’ll need some higher education too, like a Master’s degree.

Q: What salary can I expect with a degree in Criminology?

A: Below, we share the median pay for various criminology careers (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2018). Note that the BLS does not list a salary for a criminologist specifically, so we’ve used occupations similar or ones that use a criminology degree.

You can expect salaries like:

Sociologist: $82,050 per year (Master’s degree needed)

Forensic Science Technician: $58,230 per year

Police and Detectives: $63,380 per year

Criminal Investigator: $85,020

Q: Are there any professional organizations for people in the Criminology field?

A: Yes, there are! There are so many to pick from, depending on your specific profession, from law to corrections to sociology. We’ve provided a list below (there are more–this is just a sampling!):

GVC Staff

February 2020

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